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Title: Influence of 3D plasmoid dynamics on the transition from collisional to kinetic reconnection

Abstract

Within the resistive magnetohydrodynamic model, high-Lundquist number reconnection layers are unstable to the plasmoid instability, leading to a turbulent evolution where the reconnection rate can be independent of the underlying resistivity. However, the physical relevance of these results remains questionable for many applications. First, the reconnection electric field is often well above the runaway limit, implying that collisional resistivity is invalid. Furthermore, both theory and simulations suggest that plasmoid formation may rapidly induce a transition to kinetic scales, due to the formation of thin current sheets. Here, this problem is studied for the first time using a first-principles kinetic simulation with a Fokker-Planck collision operator in 3D. The low-β reconnecting current layer thins rapidly due to Joule heating before the onset of the oblique plasmoid instability. Linear growth rates for standard (k y = 0) tearing modes agree with semicollisional boundary layer theory, but the angular spectrum of oblique (|k y|>0) modes is significantly narrower than predicted. In the nonlinear regime, flux-ropes formed by the instability undergo complex interactions as they are advected and rotated by the reconnection outflow jets, leading to a turbulent state with stochastic magnetic field. In a manner similar to previous 2D results, super-Dreicer fields inducemore » a transition to kinetic reconnection in thin current layers that form between flux-ropes. These results may be testable within new laboratory experiments.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC). Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) (SC-24); USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1558975
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1545908
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-19-23318
Journal ID: ISSN 1070-664X
Grant/Contract Number:  
89233218CNA000001
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physics of Plasmas
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 26; Journal Issue: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 1070-664X
Publisher:
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; Magnetic Fusion Energy

Citation Formats

Stanier, Adam John, Daughton, William Scott, Le, Ari Yitzchak, Li, Xiaocan, and Bird, Robert Francis. Influence of 3D plasmoid dynamics on the transition from collisional to kinetic reconnection. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1063/1.5100737.
Stanier, Adam John, Daughton, William Scott, Le, Ari Yitzchak, Li, Xiaocan, & Bird, Robert Francis. Influence of 3D plasmoid dynamics on the transition from collisional to kinetic reconnection. United States. doi:10.1063/1.5100737.
Stanier, Adam John, Daughton, William Scott, Le, Ari Yitzchak, Li, Xiaocan, and Bird, Robert Francis. Wed . "Influence of 3D plasmoid dynamics on the transition from collisional to kinetic reconnection". United States. doi:10.1063/1.5100737.
@article{osti_1558975,
title = {Influence of 3D plasmoid dynamics on the transition from collisional to kinetic reconnection},
author = {Stanier, Adam John and Daughton, William Scott and Le, Ari Yitzchak and Li, Xiaocan and Bird, Robert Francis},
abstractNote = {Within the resistive magnetohydrodynamic model, high-Lundquist number reconnection layers are unstable to the plasmoid instability, leading to a turbulent evolution where the reconnection rate can be independent of the underlying resistivity. However, the physical relevance of these results remains questionable for many applications. First, the reconnection electric field is often well above the runaway limit, implying that collisional resistivity is invalid. Furthermore, both theory and simulations suggest that plasmoid formation may rapidly induce a transition to kinetic scales, due to the formation of thin current sheets. Here, this problem is studied for the first time using a first-principles kinetic simulation with a Fokker-Planck collision operator in 3D. The low-β reconnecting current layer thins rapidly due to Joule heating before the onset of the oblique plasmoid instability. Linear growth rates for standard (ky = 0) tearing modes agree with semicollisional boundary layer theory, but the angular spectrum of oblique (|ky|>0) modes is significantly narrower than predicted. In the nonlinear regime, flux-ropes formed by the instability undergo complex interactions as they are advected and rotated by the reconnection outflow jets, leading to a turbulent state with stochastic magnetic field. In a manner similar to previous 2D results, super-Dreicer fields induce a transition to kinetic reconnection in thin current layers that form between flux-ropes. These results may be testable within new laboratory experiments.},
doi = {10.1063/1.5100737},
journal = {Physics of Plasmas},
number = 7,
volume = 26,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {7}
}

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